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Sexual Racism Is Associated with Lower Self-Esteem and Life Satisfaction in Men Who Have Sex with Men

Abstract

Men of color who have sex with men (MCSM) commonly experience sexual racism within the community of men who have sex with men (MSM) and are often rejected as potential sexual and romantic partners as a result. The present study quantitatively investigated whether MCSM experience more race-based sexual discrimination relative to White MSM and whether there is an association between experiences of race-based sexual discrimination and two indicators of psychological well-being, namely self-esteem and life satisfaction. Participants were 1039 Australian MSM (774 White MSM, 265 MCSM) recruited from Grindr, a popular mobile geosocial networking app for MSM, who reported their experiences of race-based sexual discrimination, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Results showed that MCSM experienced significantly more race-based sexual discrimination relative to White MSM, and that race-based sexual discrimination was significantly associated with lower self-esteem and, in turn, lower life satisfaction. These results further corroborate past qualitative work that has long suggested a link between sexual racism and psychological well-being for MCSM. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

The author would like to acknowledge Lachlan Macqueen, who assisted with the literature review for this study.

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Correspondence to Michael Thai.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution at which the study was conducted.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Thai, M. Sexual Racism Is Associated with Lower Self-Esteem and Life Satisfaction in Men Who Have Sex with Men. Arch Sex Behav 49, 347–353 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1456-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1456-z

Keywords

  • Sexual racism
  • Psychological well-being
  • Self-esteem
  • Life satisfaction
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Sexual orientation